Women of Ambridge
The Archers is the BBC’s longest-running serial, much loved by millions of fans who weave its story-lines and characters into the fabric of their own lives. Last year audiences were gripped by Helen and Rob’s storyline which made national headlines, brought attention to coercive control laws and encouraged fans to donate over £150,000 to Refuge, a domestic violence support charity. But The Archers has a long tradition of confronting social issues and family dynamics with women central to the stories. From Jennifer Archer (now Aldridge) having an illegitimate child in the 60s and Pat Archer bringing feminism and organic farming to Ambridge, to Susan Carter going to prison and Usha Frank’s racist attack in the early 90s, and Peggy Woolley dealing with losing her beloved Jack to Alzheimer’s, the most memorable storylines are about the women of Ambridge.
How have female characters shaped the drama over the years? And do listeners care more about the women of Ambridge? In this lively and light-hearted discussion, Patricia Greene (the voice of main character Jill Archer for 60 years and matriarch of Brookfield Farm), Mary Cutler and Keri Davies, two of the show’s scriptwriters, and comedian Angela Barnes discuss the serial’s popularity and role of women with chair (and fan) Helen Taylor.